The only thing more painful than having endometriosis, is not knowing you have it.
Between the constant pain and inflammation, which feels like you’re being stabbed in the stomach, to the bloating, exhaustion, swelling and fatigue, you lose total control over your body and your mind.
Given that your mind is what generally makes-up a person, it’s easy to comprehend how endo is more like a thief that robs you of your wellbeing and personal health.
I was diagnosed with endometriosis in September last year.
It was, of course, 2020. The year that was also plagued by a global pandemic, immense stress and fear of the unknown. My endo came out of nowhere – I hadn’t ever had any symptoms or warning signs – however it hit me hard and fast.
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At the time I was locked-down inside an AFL isolation-hub as my partner, Lachie Henderson, is a player for the Geelong Cats. I had been in the iso-hub for about two weeks and had nearly three months ahead of me. The hotel room was where I worked, and where Lachie and I slept and ate after he finished training each day.
Most importantly, it was the space I shared with my toddler from a past relationship.
And it became the space where the endo took-hold of my body.
I have always been the type of woman with the mentality to “just get on with it”.
Life is tough and can be messy, it doesn’t always fit into nice little buckets. I started my business IIXIIST when I was in my early 20s and was flung headfirst into a grown-up life and new normal. I built a self-funded swimwear brand that ships to every corner of the globe daily from the ground-up, I went through a messy break-up that still haunts me today, I had a baby (which is my biggest accomplishment to date) and navigated single-motherhood and the balancing act of “trying to have it all”.
My approach to life has always been sink or swim, but that perspective has since flipped after the reality check with my health.
Over the course of my time in the hub it’s an understatement to say life felt particularly hard, especially because I wasn’t aware what was wrong with me. What got me through was reminding myself I only have control over the elements outside of my body. My son and his happiness and my staff and my business – ensuring we were on-track to survive the backend of 2020. Lachie has always been my number one supporter, so while I was in the hub to have his back, he had mine on those days that were a bit more unbearable than others.
It wasn’t until we left the hub at the end of the AFL season in September, that the pain had escalated to a place I couldn’t ignore, that I decided to seek out help. Over the four months that followed, I had countless visits with my gyno, underwent a laparoscopy and a hysteroscopy, all in between fulfilling my duties of mum and boss. I had my final operation on January 6th of this year and am grateful that the disease hasn’t made a comeback.
My biggest advice to those reading this is to please not suffer in silence. Educate yourself, ask for support. Pain is never normal, it’s your body telling you that something is wrong. Arm yourself with questions and go and speak to your doctor. We have a duty to say it’s not OK, and we won’t let it be OK. Life is too short to put your health on the backburner.